Thursday, April 23, 2009

Federal advisory agency urges Canadian government to adopt cap-and-trade system

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM:The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) has just published a report, Achieving 2050: A Carbon Pricing Policy for Canada, recommending that the federal government implement a unified carbon pricing policy across the country as a means of achieving Canada's medium- and long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Canada has pledged to reduce emissions to 20% below 2006 levels by 2020 and to 65% below 2006 levels by 2050.

“The Round Table’s report concludes that a unified national carbon price through an economy-wide cap-and-trade system across all jurisdictions, emissions, and sectors is necessary to allow Canada to reach its emission reductions targets at the least economic cost,” said NRTEE Chair Bob Page. The report acknowledges the challenges Canada faces in transforming its economy for a low-carbon future, yet provides a realistic framework within which the economy can evolve. Part of this framework entails dove-tailing Canada's cap-and-trade system with those of other countries, particularly the United States, which is planning to implement a cap-and-trade system by 2012.

DME is an emerging fuel and the current emphasis in the industry is on developing international standards, conducting long-term durability tests with DME vehicles, fine-tuning distribution infrastructure, raising awareness, and establishing markets. What the NRTEE report underscores, however, is that for the full potential of DME to be realized in a low-carbon world, the industry must also focus on reducing its carbon footprint. It could do this by exploring opportunities to:
1) Incorporate renewables such as wind, hydro, and geothermal into fossil fuel-based production processes (as explained by Professor Weidou Ni of TsingJua University in Beijing in his presentation How to Make the Production of DME More "Green";
2) Use biomass to produce DME, as the BioDME projects promotes
3) Use renewables, water, and waste carbon dioxide to produce DME, as Blue Fuel Energy promotes

Failure of DME producers to minimize DME's carbon footprint compromises the potential of this multi-purpose fuel to be adopted in jurisdictions with stringent GHG emissions—and the ability of producers to take advantage of the green credits that will accrue to producers of carbon-neutral energy. Sooner rather than later there is going to be an international price on carbon emissions and it behooves DME producers to develop strategies to put themselves in a position where they have a competitive advantage over other fuels in the drive to mitigate climate change.

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